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Ukok Plateau

Плато Укок, Ukok Plateau, photo by Ksenia Svoboda, Altai Discovery Team Плато Укок, Ukok Plateau, photo by Ksenia Svoboda, Altai Discovery Team Плато Укок, Ukok Plateau, photo by Ksenia Svoboda, Altai Discovery Team Плато Укок, Ukok Plateau, Ukok Plateau, photo by Ksenia Svoboda, Altai Discovery Team Плато Укок, photo by Ksenia Svoboda, Altai Discovery Team Плато Укок, Ukok Plateau, photo by Ksenia Svoboda, Altai Discovery Team Плато Укок, Ukok Plateau, photo by Ksenia Svoboda, Altai Discovery Team Плато Укок, Ukok Plateau, photo by Ksenia Svoboda, Altai Discovery Team

The Ukok Plateau is the high-mountainous plain located between Sailugem and South-Altai ridges at a height of 2200 – 2500 meters above sea level, and 500—600 meters mountain peaks tower above the plateau. The highest peak here is the mountain knot of Tavan-Bogdo-Ula (Five Sacred Peaks) which highest mountain is Najramdal — reaches 4 374 m above sea level. This is the second highest peak after Belukha Mountain in Siberia. The Ukok plateau is one of the hard-to-get to places of the Altai, it’s situated on a border of four states – Russia, Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan. At the end of the last century, in one of plateau barrows, archeologists had been found a mummy of the young woman, her age is not less than 2 500 years, she’s got the second name – the Ukok Princess. 

This discovery provoked the wave of interest to the Plateau all over the world, but since the Princess was taken out of her place and carried to museums, Her spirit is outraged. Local people believe that all cataclysms now happening at the Altai are excited by the Princess’s spirit and as soon as she come back Home a tranquil life in Altai will return again … After the Princess, archeologists have found one more mummy dated as the same period, at this time there was a man. The plateau is declared by the government as the Zone of Ukok Peace for 10 years and all archaeological works here are stopped till now despite this moratorium is already finished. And even tourists have to obtain the special permit to visit this zone. Altaians revere a plateau as a peaceful place for the souls of their ancestors.

There are few translations to the word Ukok from ancient Turks language - «a funeral stretcher», and «a box, a chest». It is interesting that both meanings are suitable – the form of the plateau really reminds the extended box of a case, and the valley purpose as a place of burials is proved by archeologists. Nevertheless, the history of the Ukok contains evidences that it was also quite suitable for ancient settlements – over 1500 archaeological monuments where found here. 

In 1998 the Ukok plateau was included at the UNESCO’s list of the World natural heritage. The followers of N. Roerich consider this place as the Northern collars in a sacred Shambhala.


Places of the route: